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P.O. BOX 625002 • LITTLETON. COLORADO • 80162-5002




S. A. Jeric

Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc. Morenci, AZ

M. J. Hrebar

Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO

Morenci, AZ M. J. Hrebar Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO For presentation at the SME

For presentation at the SME Annual Meeting

Denver, Colorado -

February 24-27, 1997

Permission is hereby given to publish with appropriate acknowledgments, excerpts or summaries not to exceed one-fourth of the entire text of the paper. Permission to print in more extended form subsequent to publication by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), Inc. must be obtained from the Executive Director of the Society. If and when this paper is published by the SME, it may embody certain changes made by agreement between the Technical Publications Committee and the author so that the form in which it appears is not necessarily that in which it may be published later. Current year preprints are available for sale from the SME, Preprints, P.O. Box 625002, Littleton, CO 80162-5002 (303-973-9550). Prior year preprints may be obtained from the Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, M064110-2498 (800)662-1545.




In-pit crushing and conveying ofwaste has been utilized in the mining industry for over 30 years. In recent years, innovations in crushing, conveying, and particularly waste and leach stacking technology have sparked a renewed interest in continuous haulage systems for large-scale open pit applications. A review afthe advantages/disadvantages and operating techniques ofcrushers, feeders, conveyors, and stacking systems currently available is made. The paper examines some operations that are currently using large scale continuous haulage systems. Finally, a case study is presented that evaluates the application ofa continuous waste haulage system in a large open pit mine in the Western United States, The case study includes a economic comparison with the existing truck haulage system.


The transport of ore and/or waste material in hard-rock mines generally falls into two separate categories: conventional truck haulage and continuous conveyor haulage. These haulage methods are interchangeable to various degrees in order to attain the most cost effective and flexible system for the requirements of a particular mine. In nearly all large-scale hard rock applications of in-pit conveying, where more than one face is being mined and fully mobile crushers are not applicable, some degree of intermediate conventional truck haulage is required. The resulting haulage configuration is dependent on the mobility ofthe in-pit crusher, the frequency of crusher moves relative to the advancing shovel face(s), and, consequently, the transport distance from the shovel face( s) to the crusher location in the pit. For waste and leach material haulage, stacking systems consisting of a transfer station, a shiftable or mobile conveyor, and a tripper and boom spreader have enabled mines to use in-pit crushing and conveying systems. In general, conveying for surface mines is considered suitable for either new mines with substantial tonnages of ore and waste and medium-distance hauls of over 2 miles, or well established mines possessing aging truck fleets and large vertical climbs out of the pit (Cabrera, 1983). Longer life mines generally favor

conveyors over trucks due to their longer economic life.


High capacity conveyors for open pit mines are now capable of transporting material at rates of over 11,000 tph at speeds up to 1,200 ft/min. Steel cable reinforced belts are available in standard widths of 72 inches with tension ratings in excess of 6000 lb/inch width. With the development of high capacity belts, single vertical lifts of over 2000 feet are achievable. Conveyors generally can run efficiently up to 17° (30%) slope angles. The main components for high tonnage conveyors include steel reinforced belting, idlers, drives, pulleys, tables, tension take-up mechanisms, and a braking system. The selection of conveyor components is generally a function ofvertical lift, capacity, material type, system availability, and capital and maintenance . costs.

The principal economic and operating advantages of belt conveyors over truck haulage include:


Grades of up to ±30 percent maybe attained by belt conveyors without any lost efficiency compared to the recommended ±8 percent

for trucks.


Due to conveyors ability to climb steeper grades, haul distances are much shorter, and, in some instances, the required stripping can be reduced.


Preventive maintenance for conveyors can result in high overall availability of up to 98%, low overall maintenance costs, minimal spare part inventories, and an overall reduction of the maintenance operation (Cabrera, 1983).


Conveyors require a smaller workforce than for equivalent production with truck haulage.


Conveyors have a longer economic life than trucks with up to 25 years of operation reported (Cabrera, 1983).


Conveyors have low per ton operating costs and power requirements, with 80% of the energy consumption expended solely for payload transportation.

The limitations and disadvantages for conveyor haulage in an open pit mine include:


The feed size for conveyors is generally limited to material less than 1/3 operating belt width, thus requiring in-pit crushing in most mining situations. This results in an additional cost for haulage that would not be allocated with conventional truck haulage.


Generally higher initial investment costs are associated with in-pit conveying systems.


Conveyors require more sophisticated mine planning to limit required moves and maximize proper utilization of system.


Conveyors are less flexible to changing mine plans and changing production rates.


If not properly planned, conveyors can cause potential sterilization of reserves and an interruption of the natural progression of mining the next best ore.


Grade control and material separation is very restricted and complicated, requiring sophisticated planning and costly transfer stations and stockpiles.


Conveyors require a permanent, stable wall or underground tunnel in order to avoid numerous and costly conveyor relocations.

High Angle Conveyors

High angle conveyors (HAC) were first successfully developed in the 1980's in order to provide mine operators with a more flexible and sometimes more economic alternative to both trucking and conventional in-pit conveying. The most promising HAC design was developed by Continental Conveyor, which uses the sandwich belt principle where ordinary rubber belts and idlers sandwich the conveyed material

and transport it directly up the mine face, as illustrated in Figure 1. The system is reported to have capacities up to 15,000 tph and can lift material up 90° slopes. The highest tonnages achieved in a working mine with a high angle conveyor is at the Majdapek Copper mine in the former Yugoslavia in which 4000 tph is being conveyed

up a 35.5° high-wall a total of 300 vertical feet

(lA. dos Santos, 1988).

operating cost for the High Angle Conveyor

system over truck haulage are estimated at $1.9

M (Reisler and Stanisic, 191H).

Annual savings in


The application of HAC's for a particular mining scenario is dependent on the material feed size and characteristics, required lift, slope stability along conveyor route, throughput, estimated availability, and capital and operational costs ofthe system. Also . maintenance access to the conveyor can be a critical factor for some mines. One ofthe primary benefits of the high angle system is the ability to transport mined material with very minimal (if any) excavation, as would normally occur in constructing truck or conveyor ramps. Furthermore, the system allows more flexibility to mine design due to the reduction oftied up pit walls with ex-pit ramps. High capital costs, lack of proven operating experience, and limited lift and capacity for high tonnages of coarse, in-pit material are reported as the main deterrents for their widespread adoption in hard rock open pit mining (Atkinson, 1992).



Fig. I-Modular High Angle Conveying System Source: Mining Technology, April 1991.

Waste Dump Conveying and Stacking

Under certain conditions, continuous waste and leach stacking systems can provide mines with significant cost savings due to large reductions in haul truck fleets used on long ex- pit (external to pit) hauls. The most beneficial scenario for continuous haulage is for large tonnage mines possessing high strip ratios or high tonnages of leach material, large vertical ascents out·ofthe pit, and long overland transport distances both to and on the dump itself. Also a large, level dump configuration that permits long lateral cycles with minimal

movement of the stacking conveyor and transfer station is required for effective continuous stacking.

There are predominantly two basic methods for stacking. The first method, which

was developed in the open pit coal industry in Germany, uses shiftable conveyors that consist

of portable

framework modules mounted on a jointed rail. The conveyors are shifted sideways by "snakelike" bending ofthe rail using a crane suspended shifter head mounted on a dozer that pulls the entire conveyor to the side, as illustrated in Figure 2. While the conveyor is being shifted, the operation ofthe system is temporarily discontinued. The head and tail stations are skid mounted and are relocated with either a tractor or crawler transporter depending on the size. Modules can be added or eliminated to the conveyor to lengthen or shorten the flights as needed to fit the configuration of the dump (Krupp Industries, 1994).

sleeper-mounted conveyor

the dump (Krupp Industries, 1994). sleeper-mounted conveyor Fig. 2-Shiftable Conveyor Being Shifted Laterally With

Fig. 2-Shiftable Conveyor Being Shifted Laterally With Bulldozer. Source: Kennedy,1990.

A crawler mounted boom stacker (illustrated in Figure 3) is fed with either a crawler or rail mounted tripper car with a slewing discharge boom that travels along the shiftable conveyor. The stacker is composed of either two or three conveyors which can be raised or lowered independently to adjust the stacking discharge height. This allows the stacker to operate in both an advance mode, where waste is discharged onto the slope just below the advancing top edge of the dump, or in retreat mode in which waste is lifted up to the next highest lift. This permits the system to stack at a higher overall lift than in a normal advance along the dump face, thus minimizing


the effective movement of the shiftable conveyor. Waste stacking systems with shiftable conveyors have been used for over 30 years and are considered well proven in operations worldwide (yu, 1990).

considered well proven in operations worldwide (yu, 1990). Fig. 3-Crawler Mounted Boom Stacker Using Advance Stacking

Fig. 3-Crawler Mounted Boom Stacker Using Advance Stacking Method. Source: Krupp Industries, 1994.

A second stacking method first developed in the United States utilizes a rail mounted mobile tripper on a crawler mounted mobile bridge conveyor (illustrated in Figure 4). The system, which has been used in industry for 19 years, was first applied predominantly in gold heap leach applications due to the system's minimal amount of compaction ofleaching material. However, high tonnage leach and waste mobile stacking conveyor (MSC) systems are presently being applied in South American copper operations (Mining Engineering, April 1996). Present systems are now capable of 10,000 tons per hour stacking capacity. The system can be operated in either an advance or retreat stacking mode (RAHco International, 1996). Maximum single lift dump heights of over 600 :ft are achievable with the system, depending on the geotechnical properties of the dump (Baker, by correspondence, 1996). The mobile stacking conveyor consists of a self-propelled conveyor with a traveling tripper. Material is transferred onto the MSC from a fixed conveyor or a mobile tripper. The material is carried along the mobile conveyor and is then transferred onto the traveling tripper which discharges the material. Material can


bypass the traveling tripper and be sent out to the end ofthe conveyor. The mobile conveyor consists of multiple frame sections that may be added or subtracted to fit changes on the dump. The tripper travels upon crane rails along the length of the MSC system. The operation is able to continue production during conveyor moves. The system also possesses a leveling system which permits the system to travel up and down grades while keeping the conveyor and stacker level. This allows the system to continue operation while climbing or descending on dump lifts. Overall length of the MSC is presently limited to approximately 2400 feet (Baker, by correspondence, 1996). Either system can provide extremely low operating costs in the range of 1 to 2 cents per ton with high productivity and availability under proper conditions. Availability for both systems is estimated at 98% (Brenker and Baker, personal correspondence, 1996). However, utilization for shiftable conveyors is generally lower since the conveyor cannot operate while being laterally shifted. In addition, a separate cost must be considered for dozers to shift sections of the conveyor (Baker, personal correspondence, 1996). The disadvantages for both continuous waste stacking systems include high initial capital investment, limited flexibility for material segregation, and the requirements for some dump preparation prior to installation to provide large even surface areas for efficient operation.

to provide large even surface areas for efficient operation. Fig. 4-Typical Mobile Stacking Conveyor System Performing

Fig. 4-Typical Mobile Stacking Conveyor System Performing Advance Stacking Source: RAHco International, 1995.

There are two primary arrangements used for shiftable and mobile conveying on dumps. First, a radial stacking configuration where the shiftable conveyor rotates in a semi-

circular ard anchored from a pivoting drive station illustrated in Figure 5. The radial configuration can also be used to construct circular sweeps to advance the dump in approximately a rectangular configuration, as illustrated in Figure 6. A lateral design is illustrated in Figure 7 in which the shiftable conveyor runs perpendicular to a crossing conveyor at the dump base. A combination of both lateral and radial stacking can be utilized to closely match a wide variety of dump configurations, as illustrated in Figure 8.

variety of dump configurations, as illustrated in Figure 8. MSC T.lppcr Fig.5- Stacker Contructing Radial Dump.

MSC T.lppcr

Fig.5- Stacker Contructing Radial Dump. Source: RAHco International, 1995.

Contructing Radial Dump. Source: RAHco International, 1995. Fig.6-Stacker Constructing Rectangular Dump With Radial

Fig.6-Stacker Constructing Rectangular Dump With Radial Stacking Source: RAHco International, 1995.








eno y.~-----.

Fig.7- Stacker Constructing Rectangular Dump With Lateral Stacking. Source: RAHco International, 1995.

With Lateral Stacking. Source: RAHco International, 1995. Fig.8-Combined Lateral and Radial Stacking on Dump. Source:

Fig.8-Combined Lateral and Radial Stacking on Dump. Source: RAHco International, 1995.

In-Pit Crushing Systems

In-pit crushers are classified by the mobility of the crusher. This ranges from fully mobile crushers that continuously follow the advancing working face, to permanent crushers, which require increasing truck travel distances with expansion of the mine over time. Mobile crusher is a generic term for any crusher that may be moved. The crushing plant is mounted on a frame base that is either a complete stand- alone unit or that can be disassembled into modules for transport. The in-pit crushing systems can be moved either on skids, with a crawler, or with a wheeled or walking transporter. The mobile crushing plant generally includes a hopper, feeder, crusher, and discharge conveyor, along with built-in electrical, mechanical, and auxiliary systems (Frizzel and Martin, 1992). The crusher size for in-pit conveying is dependent on the type of material being crushed, feed size, output size, and selected capacity for the entire system. As a general rule, maximum particle size for conveyed material should not exceed 30% ofbelt width (Frizzel and Martin, 1992). Fourteen inch feed is usually considered maximum size for 72 inch steep inclined

conveyors in hard rock (Bailey, by correspondence, 1996). For large in-pit applications in hard rock mines with throughputs in excess of 3000 tph, gyratory crushers are the most preferable due to their high throughput, ability to handle a large range of feed size, and relatively high reliability. As of 1989, 11 of the 16 in-pit crushing installations with capacities in excess of 4,000 tph were gyratory crushers in the 54175, 60/89, and 60/109 inch size class. The largest throughput being attained with a single crusher is 9 600 mtlh at the Chuquicamata mine in Chile using a 60/109 gyratory crusher with four dump pockets and two indirect feeders illustrated in Figure 9.

pockets and two indirect feeders illustrated in Figure 9. Figure 9: Waste Crushing Plan with 4

Figure 9:

Waste Crushing Plan with 4 Side Dumping Source: Kropp Industries, 1995.

Chuquicamata 9000 tph Movable

Crusher Feeder Systems

The two primary methods for feeding in-pit crushing plants are direct feed and indirect feed. The proper selection in feeder configurationfor a particular mining situation is determined with consideration ofthe crusher feed size, system availability, crusher throughput, crusher and truck utilization, material characteristics, bench height, frequency of crusher re-Iocations, and capital costs. The direct feeder system involves haul trucks dumping into a crusher feed hopper, which usually has a two truck capacity (commonly 400 tons). The bin is either located by excavating a notch in the bench with concrete and earth reinforcement or using a dump-bridge

for trucks to access the crusher, as illustrated in Figure 10. Dual dumping of trucks is possible

with the direct feed method.

using direct crusher feeding include lower

Advantages for


capital costs, simplified operation, and higher availability due to the elimination of a moving feed mechanism.

due to the elimination of a moving feed mechanism. Figure 10: Direct Feed Mobile Crusher with

Figure 10: Direct Feed Mobile Crusher with Dump Bridge Source: Utley and Laidlaw, 1984.

However, there are some drawbacks to direct feeding. Utilization of crushers generally are lower due to lack of crusher feed control, limited capacity in the feed bin and limited dump points. Problems also occur if two trucks simultaneously dump fine material that passes right through the crusher. The large surge in fine material can overload the bottom discharge conveyor causing a backup and packing of the crusher. Direct feed also requires a 15 to 30 foot higher crusher installation to provide room for bottom surge, which might conflict with the bench heights of many mines (typically around 20 ft for gold, 50 ft in copper mines). Constructing a notch in a bench for a crusher bin is also not advised ifbench slope stability is an issue (Johnson, 1982). Indirect feeding of crushers can be performed using either overlapping flight apron feeders, vibrating feeders, or belt feeders, to provide regulated feed to the crusher. Indirect feeding of crushers provides higher throughputs than direct feeding, and usually has lower installation costs due to the elimination of a bench slot for the crusher bin. Systems have been developed with dual feeders that can permit up to four trucks to dump simultaneously. This is important for achieving throughputs approaching 10,000 tph from a single crushing plant (Utley, by correspondence,


Capacity, crusher and truck utilization, and crusher bench configurations are the main consideration for selecting indirect feeding

systems. Generally, operating and maintenance costs are higher than for a direct feed system due to the additional mechanical component of a feeder. However, indirect systems have a lower profile and feeders may be inclined from a lower bench level, making the system more compatible to a mine's bench configuration.

system more compatible to a mine's bench configuration. Figure 11: Indirect Feed Mobile Crusher with Inclined

Figure 11: Indirect Feed Mobile Crusher with Inclined Apron Feeder. Source: Utley and Laidlaw, 1984.

The apron feeder is the most commonly used feeding mechanism for in-pit crushing applications due to its rugged construction and

its ability to start up with a heavy load. The apron feeder is similar to a crawler tread with fabricated steel or heavy cast plates, which carry feed directly from the hopper into the gyratory crusher. It is preferable to keep a layer of rock on top of the feeder to cushion the impact from truck dumping cycles. Vibrating feeders have a flat vibrating pan that can handle up to 6000 tph. Belt feeders have increased in usage in recent years due to

advances in materials used

three inches thick constructed with fabric or steel cable reinforcement. Belt feeders are considerably cheaper to purchase and maintain than apron feeders and require less cleanup (Frizzel and Martin 1992).

Belts are two to

Scalpers and Grizzlies

The use of scalpers and grizzlies can have application in certain situations in which there is a large percentage of conveyab1e material in the run-of-mine feed. Grizzlies have been used to increase throughputs for crushers by allowing large proportions of undersized feed to pass directly on the belt with remaining


oversized material being directed through the crusher.

In-pit scalpers are also applicable for materials that contain only a small portion of oversized feed. A high capacity scalper as illustrated in Figure 14, requires apron feeders to provide regulated feed in order to be effective. Separate handling of coarse oversize is generally done with front-end loaders. This operation is reported as difficult and expensive due to hard digability in blocky oversized waste-piles (Kutschera, 1992). As of 1992, capital costs for 4,400 tph scalping plants are estimated at $4.8 million with operating costs of 7-14 cents per ton. Operating and maintenance costs are estimated to be slightly less than gyratory crushers of equal capacity, while similar labor costs and power consumption between a gyratory crusher's apron feeder and a scalper can be expected. However, increased re-handling of oversized material can quickly escalate the total operating costs for a scalping system (Kutschera, 1992).

Large Scale Continuous Haulage Systems

The Sierrita property is located 30 mi. south of Tucson and is a low-grade copper- molybdenum orebody. In 1981, Sierrita operated three movable 60-89 gyratory crushers with apron feeders, five 12-inch ore belts with a total distance of 16,000 ft, and four separate sections of waste belting totaling 8000 ft. Total production using crushing and conveying at the time was 250,000 tpd, with ore accounting for 92,000 tpd. The waste belting includes a movable stacker belt located on the waste dumps, which is moved by bulldozers approximately 65 meters every 60 to 90 days. Sierrita was the first large open-pit mine in the United States to utilize movable crusher technology. In 1983, Duval (the original mine operators) transformed its existing haulage system, which used stationary in-pit ore crushing and conveying, into mobile in-pit crushing with extendIble conveyors for hauling ore and waste. The average relocation time for the crusheris 48 hours at a cost oUI million. Total capital investment in the system as of

1984 was estimated at $32 million.


portable crusher system was reported to have saved $.29/ton hauled out of the pit, lowered per

shift truck requirements from 24 to 14 trucks,

and reduced the overall operating costs over the first 10 years of operation by over $120 million. In addition, truck purchases were to decrease 37%, saving an added $23 million in capital costs (Sassos, 1984).

Kennecott Bingham Canyon

Kennecott's Bingham Can):on copper mine is located approximately 25 miles

southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Between

1986 and 1988, as part of a $400 million

modernization program to lower operational costs, Kennecott installed a semi-mobile in-pit crushing and conveying system for ore to replace much of its outdated rail system. The 60-109 gyratory crusher has a 10,000 tph throughput and is situated on a concrete foundation notched inside a 30 meter high double bench and supported by earth reinforced walls. The bench is located on the same elevation as the tunnel portal. Actual realized capacity is around 6000 tph due to its direct feed configuration which has a capacity of 780 yd'3. The ore bin has two dump slots for the 170-ton trucks which dump independently. The system uses a 3.7 mile tunnel previously used for rail haulage to route the 12-in conveyor from the pit to the concentrator stockpile. A total of six conveyors with a total length of 5.3 miles are used with a total installed drive power of 17,500 Hp (Kaerst,


Phelps Dodge Morenci

Phelps Dodge's Morenci Mine, located 200 miles east ofPhoenix, Arizona installed a 120,000 tpd in-pit ore crushing and conveying system in 1989 at an estimated cost of $43 million. The system uses two 60-89 in. semi-

portable in-pit crushing stations, each having

8000 tph capacity, along with three inclined and

two downhill regenerative conveyors. An intermediate surge pile with a 9000 tph capacity is used to increase overall system utilization. As of 1993, the system was designed to be permanent for ten years (Dowall and Linde,


Highland Valley Copper


Highland Valley Copper is located 140 miles northeast of Vancouver in British Columbia. The present ore conveying system has a capacity of 143,000 tpd using in-pit crushing from two 60-89 semi-mobile gyratory crushing plants. The duplicate crushing and conveying systems are arranged in parallel. The conveyors are designed as modules, simplifying lengthening and shortening of conveyors. Total capital costs for the system in 1987 was C$46.4 million. For the first ten years of operation, savings in operating costs were estimated at 25 cents/ton, which is expected to increase to 37 cents/ton. Also a truck fleet reduction of 18 190-ton trucks is expected with savings of C$18.2 The un-discounted pay-back is reported at 7.2 years with a return on investment of 10.3%. The second 10 year period estimates a C$160 million saving with expenditures of C$15 million (MacPhail and Richards, 1994).


Codelco's Chuquicamata mine in Chile, wIllch is presently the world's largest copper mine, commissioned a waste in-pit crushing and conveying system in 1991. The semi-mobile crusher is presently the largest for waste handling in the world, with an average handling rate of 9000 mtph. Six 60-in width conveyors carry waste material 1.5 km up an incline, 2.3 km overland, 1.1 km downhill and 1.24 km along the shiftable conveyor on the dump (Januschenck and Papajewski, 1992). The crushing plant is comprised offour modules: two apron feeders, one crushing module, and one discharge conveyor. This

configuration allows haul trucks to discharge waste rock into two separate feed bins, each with

a 540

ton (1080 m 3 ) capacity. The system

allows both a higher truck utilization rate due to reduced queue times, and higher crusher utilization due to consistently controlled feed to the crusher. Also the configuration has the ability to sustain partial production during individual feeder maintenance shutdowns. Capital cost for the crushing plant was $21 million in 1990.

Palabora Copper Mine

The Palabora copper mine of South Africa, faced with an escalation in fuel prices of 320% between 1980 and 1985, and increasing mining rates due to a pit expansion, has used both trolley assist and in-pit crushing/conveying to offset haulage costs. A trolley assist truck haulage system was implemented in 1981 with an internal rate of return estimated at 102% and net present value cash flow of R152 million (1980 terms) (Gliddon and Wade, 1988). In addition, a 91,800 tpd in-pit crushing and conveying system for ore through an underground incline was commissioned in

1988 (partially due to plans to develop high

grade underground reserves). Waste will continue to be hauled primarily using conventional trolley assisted trucks. A series of underground inclines that will be constructed in

three phases as the pit advances in depth. Initial. estimates for pay-back are at four years with an internal rate of return of almost 20%. Economic savings include a reduct;ion of 14 trucks and reduced diesel and trolley assisted electric consumption (Gliddon and Wade, 1988). As of

1995 it is estimated that a further 46% energy

savn:g will be made by conveying ore from the in-pit crusher compared with trucking under trolley assist (Mining Magazine, 1995).

Majdanpek Copper Mine

The Majdanpek Copper mine, located in the former Yugoslavia, is known for being the first mine to use high angle conveyor (HAC) technology in an open pit hard rock mine. The high angle conveyor elevates 4000 tph of material out of the pit over a vertical height of 295 ft at 35.5°. In addition, the mine uses two semi- mobile 60-89 in-pit crushers with 3000 mtlhr capacities that load 6000 tph capacity belts exiting the pit to an 8000 tph continuous waste haulage system This system consists of a 1.3 km long slewing shiftable conveyor with a tripper that transfers waste onto the crawler- mounted spreader on the primary dump. A transfer system is centrally located to route ore to the mill and waste to the dump, thus eliminating duplication of systems for separate material routing. Total accumulated savings due to the in-pit crushing and conveying system


in comparison to truck only haulage is estimated at US$142 million by year 2002 (Dos Santos,


Case Study

A pre-feasibility study was made on the application of continuous waste haulage in a large surface metal mine. The mine, located in the Western U.S., produces 400,000 tpd. Of ore and waste. The time frame for the study is 1998 to projected end of mining in 2010. Currently a fleet of76 190 ton trucks are operated in the mine with peak projected fleet size occurring in 2001 at 88 190 ton trucks. Conditions favorable for installing an in-pit crushing system with interconnecting conveyors to a continuous mobile stacking system on the waste dump include:


High waste strip ratios of approximately 18 to 1 through life of mine.


Haul times approaching 50 minutes for most adverse hauls to dump during life of mine with present haulage system.


High vertical ascent from pit to dump locations ranging from 410 to 2070 feet.


A net reduction of approximately 11,750 ft of adverse grade ramp is provided by proposed conveyor system.


Availability of permanent wall for location of long standing crusher and conveyor route.


Large surface area on dump for effective deployment of continuous or shiftable stacking system.


Large truck fleet replacement and expansion scheduled with current haulage system in 1998 and 1999.

Difficulties for installing a continuous waste haulage system include:


Slope stability constraints due to susceptibly active pit walls limit potential surface and underground conveyor routes.


Limited locations for crusher and subsequent crusher re-Iocations.


Large one time capital expenditure.


Reduced pit design flexibility over life of mine.

The methodology used in the study follows: 1) Determination of potential crusher and conveyor locations. 2) Evaluation of mine waste types and tonnages suitable for continuous haulage. 3) Selection of optimal capacity for the crushing-conveying-stacking system. 4) Truck simulation to determine yearly effects of waste crushing and conveying on truck fleet size and operating costs. 5) Economic cost analysis of truck haulage versus conveyor haulage.


It was determined in this preliminary assessment that the application of in-pit conveyor haulage of waste was technically feasible from 1998 to 2009 with a 60 million tons per year average capacity. In addition, the deployment of a continuous haulage system could achieve significant cost savings in waste haulage costs of approximately $0.32/ton due to an estimated average reduction of 27 trucks per year. Estimated truck reductions from reduced cycle times to an in-pit <ifllsher location was calculated using truck haulage simulation methodology currently employed by mine engineering . The large initial capital expenditure for the conveying system was determined to be offset by the reduction in haulage operating costs for waste material transported from the lowest/portion in the mine. Net capital outlay for the conveyor system is lessened by the subsequent reduction in required truck replacements which is currently scheduled for a major portion of the aging truck fleet in 1998 and 1999. Component escalation was found to have no observable effect on influencing the economic comparison of continuous and truck haulage systems. A contingency sensitivity assessment of costs for the continuous haulage system determined that the relative comparative overall economics ofthe system was not dramatically affected with a 100% increase in either capital or operating costs.


Table 1: Total Average Operating Cost per ton for Conventional Truck and Conveyor Haulage.

Cost per ton for Conventional Truck and Conveyor Haulage. 0.9 -r-'-----"-----------~---=- ' 1 0.8 0.1

0.9 -r-'-----"-----------~---=- ' 1

Haulage. 0.9 -r-'-----"-----------~---=- ' 1 0.8 0.1 5°·6 SO.5 ~0.4 ~0.3 0.2 0.1 ° Conventionol











Continuous III<i

Truck Haulage



Table 2: Estimated After Tax Net Present Value of Total Operating and Capital Costs for . Haulage Systems at 12% Cost of Capital.

Capital Costs for . Haulage Systems at 12% Cost of Capital. 500~--~~~--------~--~ i!l400 S300 200 ~
Capital Costs for . Haulage Systems at 12% Cost of Capital. 500~--~~~--------~--~ i!l400 S300 200 ~





~ 100



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